Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: December & January Magazine
Dear brothers and sisters,
If we (Rev. Mike & Natalie) were to ask you to describe 2020 in a word, we wonder what it would be? We’re sure there would be many answers, and probably none of them would be good, but one word which we think may crop up is “dark”. It has been a dark time for our world in many ways, of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been much illness and loss, and the knock of effects of lockdowns on livelihoods, and well-being. It has been a dark time with divisions and racism seen at home and abroad.
In to this dark time, a famous verse, which we often hear around Christmas time, has repeatedly come to our minds:
'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.' - John 1:5
As Christians we do not deny that the world can be dark. We do not deny that life in our world can be incredibly hard. Perhaps we know even more about the depth of darkness, because we know that it took the sacrifice of God’s own Son to make it possible to bring hope. We know the world can be dark, and we are still waiting for Jesus to return and make all things new and right.
So how do we wait, when life is hard and the world seems dark? Well in the words of St Francis, ’All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle’ and therefore we have hope. Jesus, the light of the world, HAS come. He shines with hope for the world, and all the darkness of the world has not, and cannot ever, overcome Him. There is still hope for our world, and His name is Jesus.
When you read this, it will most likely be Advent. Advent means “arrival” and at this time of year we refresh our hope, not just in celebrating Jesus’ birth, His first arrival, but in looking forward to His second arrival. He comes to, as we say in the creed, ‘judge the living and the dead’; to put the world right and welcome those who follow Him to be with Him forever. This is our hope. Not that nations and governments can progress to a stage without sickness, and war, and death. The twentieth century put pay to that myth. No, our hope - our certain hope - is that God will come and put all things right. Light will come to do away with the darkness. The pandemic will not last forever, the restrictions on our lives will not last forever, and the darkness we see in our world will not last forever. Jesus WILL come again. And so, we can sing the words of the famous carol even more heartedly this year:
Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing
Jesus will return, that is the Christian hope, and that hope changes everything! So this year, as every year, let us find ways to prepare room for Jesus in our hearts. As we celebrate His birth in what ever ways we can this year, let us look forward to a time when our celebrations will be unrestricted for all eternity, and light will finally and fully overcome all darkness.
Rev. Mike and Natalie